Foreign Minister Penny Wong says the new Australian government hears Pacific nations’ concerns about climate change and is dedicated to pursuing a “much stronger policy” compared with the former Morrison government.
Wong told reporters in the Fijian capital of Suva she was pleased that so many Australians voted for stronger action on climate change at the recent federal election.
Noting that climate change is not an abstract concept for many Pacific nations, she said the Albanese government was determined to make a difference in this area.
“[Climate change] is not a political argument. It is real,” Wong said.
“Our message to the Pacific is clear: We are listening and we have heard you.”
The new Labor government has committed to net zero emissions by 2050 and a reduction of 43 per cent by 2030.
Speaking at the Pacific Islands Forum last night, Wong warned Pacific leaders that a region-wide security and trade deal with China could sacrifice their independence, lead to unsustainable debt levels and endanger the region.
She reiterated these fears on Friday afternoon, telling reporters she hoped the region would find a “path to unity”.
“We want to be a partner of choice and demonstrate to your nation [Fiji] and other nations in the region that we are a partner who can be trusted … and historically, we have been,” she said.
“We have expressed our concerns publicly about the security agreement between the Solomon Islands and China, and the reason why is because we think, as do other Pacific nations, there are consequences. We think it is important that the security of the region be determined by the region.”